Vice President Kamala Harris returned from Poland last month, but her duties have continued to keep her away from the White House.
She’s stopped in Sunset, Louisiana; Greenville, Mississippi; and Brandywine, Maryland — rural areas traditionally overlooked by national Democrats.
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“We’re obviously as a team working through what places she has not been to, what places are we going to go to highlight?” Harris’ Domestic Policy Adviser Rohini Kosoglu told Politico Tuesday. “But some of our recent stops have been because she has said, we need to get to the South.”
On a practical level, she’s been traveling to tout last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law, one of the Biden administration’s two major legislative accomplishments. In these rural communities, she has been harping on the law’s provision to allocate $65 million for broadband development, especially rural broadband.
However, Harris’ trips has raised questions about her long-term aims, especially after the feature by Politico. Her advisers speculate that she’s trying to boost the Democrats’ electoral prospects.
“It’s not necessarily that we’re going to win Mississippi or Louisiana, but it makes a difference in people knowing that they’re seen and they’re heard,” senior adviser to the president Cedric Richmond told POLITICO. “And what we hope is that the communities around the country that look like those communities will see that we see them even if we don’t make it to their particular community.”
The Democrats are still facing grim prospects in reliably red states like Mississippi and Louisiana, but some national Democrats are canvassing on their issues, rather than campaigning for politicians.
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“[She said] ‘Talk to me about a community that has been left behind, a rural community. Where are they going to go? How are they going to get out there?” former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, senior adviser to the president, told Politico. “Now talk to me about an urban neighborhood that has been left behind where people are renting.’”
Harris may be trying to boost her own standing and her own electoral prospect — or perhaps she’s being kept away from the Biden administration.
Her office has regularly yielded damning reports of disorganization and dysfunction. More to the point, she’s has been polling underwater since President Joe Biden’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll aggregator.
“It’s part of sort of strengthening the perception so that six months from now, people are writing stories about how effective she’s being internally rather than why is her staff leaving,” vice presidential historian Joel K. Goldstein said.
“You’re putting yourself in a position if it’s done right of being somebody who’s out there helping other people in the administration, not somebody who’s competing with them,” Goldstein continued. “And that puts you in a position of where people will then come to you with things and will respond to your requests.”
Still, Harris may be damaging her reputation even further with all these trips. On her trip to Louisiana, she faced mockery for awkwardly repeating the phrase “the passage of time.”
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For months, Harris defenders have criticized the White House for assigning Harris tasks that are too difficult. Anyone would look incompetent after being told to solve border crisis, they say.
Yet, Harris has found a way to mess up even the smaller, manageable tasks, like touting the infrastructure law.
Here’s a flashback —
Ladies and Gentleman, the VP of the United States #inspirational
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) March 21, 2022
The Horn editorial team